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The Vibrant, Laid Back City of Tunis

Posted on November 20, 2009 | Fascinating CitiesNo Comment



Tunis is the capital of Tunisia. It is a vibrant city that is best enjoyed at a relaxed pace. Away from the glitters of a typical touristy city, Tunis has managed to keep its identity intact, offering the tourists a relaxed vacation amidst the remains of the past and elegance of the present.

Location

Tunis is in northern Tunisia, which is located in North Africa. Tunisia borders the Mediterranean Sea and is sandwiched between Algeria and Libya.

tunis city

Climate

Owing to its varying terrains, Tunisia has three types of climate. The climate in the mountainous northern area of the city is Mediterranean with warm summers and mild and rainy winters. The central regions with its plains have a semi-arid climate with the average rainfall being 200 millimeter in a year and further south is the desert that merges with the desert of Sahara.

The rains in north of the city lasts in the months from October to May and record 600 millimeters of rainfall on an average in a year.  In the Kroumirie Mountains in the northern areas, the maximum rainfall is not less than 1000 to 1500 millimeters.

The coastal areas have moderate temperatures, with temperatures ranging between a minimum 7 degree Celsius and the maximum being 14 degree Celsius on an average. The summers along the coast have temperatures ranging between a minimum of 21 degree Celsius and the maximum reaching not more than 33 degree Celsius.

Further south, the desert climate takes over. Annual precipitation reduces to anywhere between 100 to 150 millimeters. The summer temperatures are however very high in the south and inland.

In winters, the temperatures in inland drop down to 6 degree Celsius and reach the maximum of 18 degree Celsius. In August, the minimum and maximum temperatures range between 23 degree Celsius and 38 degree Celsius respectively. In April, dry and warm winds blow in.

The spring season, in the months of March to June and the autumn season in the months of September to October, are ideal time if you are planning a tour to this North African city.

Sahara desertTourist Attractions

Wether you want to look at the sunrise over the Sahara desert, enjoy the sea shore along the Mediterranean coast, and explore the ancient and legendry sites, Tunisia is worth a visit and especially so if you are a complete nature freak.

There is the medina as well as the new town.  The Medina, in fact, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The intricate alleyways with elegant mosques like the Zeytona Mosque, the largest mosque in Tunis built in 732 AD, the ever busy souks, and the royal palaces such as the 13th century Musee du Bardo with splendid Arab-Muslim architecture and captivating mausoleum and the traditional cafes are an absolute delight for tourists.

Zeytona Mosque
The elegant Habib Bourguiba avenue with its palm trees, café terraces and patisseries, European sytle boulevards and a busy commercial centre with offices and amidst white colonial architecture is like an opening statement of a book that is the city of Tunis.

In the suburban areas is the Bardo Museum with magnificent collection of Roman mosaics. The quaint village of Sidi Bou too is worth a visit and has been a hub and inspiration for artists.

There are fascinating museums like the Museum of Popular Arts, originally an 18th century palace and exclusive parks like the Belvedere Park laid by the French.

The white sand beaches at la Marsa are of course, an all time favourite of tourists who want to laze around in the cool sea breeze.

Reaching Tunis and touring around

The Tunis Carthage International airport is at a distance of about 7 kilometers to the city’s east of the city centre. It is Tunis Carthage International airportwell connected with all the major domestic and international destinations. The facilities at the airport too are good and include services like exchange offices, travel agents, car rental offices, a VIP lounge and a tourist office as well.

There are public buses that you could get on to reach the city from here or to the Tunis Marine station. Metered taxis are another option that you could find outside the airport to get to the city.

You can plan to bring your own car here if you opt for ferries to reach Tunisia from Europe. The port of Tunisia is at La Goulette, at about 12 kilometers from the city centre. The SNCM ferry run twice weekly from Marseille in the south of France to Tunis. The Grandi Navi Veloce runs regular ferries from Civitavecchia, Palermo and Genoa in Italy to the city of Tunisia.

The railway station of Tunisia is centrally located in de Barcelone. There are daily services that connect this North African city to major Tunisian towns like Hammamet, Nabeul, Sousse, Monastir, Gabes, Bizerte, Sfax, Tozeur and Beja.

While there has been an announcement for a railway line between Annaba in Algeria and Tunis, there still are no trains servicing internationally.

Tunisian cities are well connected by roadways. There are communal taxis that run between Tunis and Annaba, Constantine and Algiers in Algeria.

Tunis has two major bus stations in the city. The buses departing from Gare Routiere Nord at Bab Saadoun connect the city to North and Northwest of the country such as Bizerte, Tabarka, Sousset, Hammamet and Nabeul. To go south of the country, you will need to take the bus from the Gare Routiere Sud.

For the public, buses are in plenty but they do not work well with the tourists. There is a tramway, The Metro Leger, whose five lines depart from the railway station connecting it to major points like Tunis Marine, the city’s north-south axis, the bus station at the Gare Routiere Nord at Bab Saadoun and the Bardo Museum.

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